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tv   Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson  ABC  January 7, 2018 10:00am-10:30am EST

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♪ >> there is no better example of america's neglected infrastructure than the old charleroi lock and dam on the monongahela river near pittsburgh. is the concrete falling in? >> it is. the concrete is in very poor condition. >> the cost of our infrastructure, or the lack of our infrastructure, costs american businesses money. sharyl: has the result of the delay in this project, or how long it's taken, ultimately probably cost more money to the people paying for it and taxpayers? >> i will tell you definitely yes. >> through heavily guarded checkpoints, we cross into the west bank city, ramallah.
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president trump's decision to recognize the contested city of jerusalem as the capital of israel. now the president is threatening to cut off some u.s. funding to the palestinian authority. >> do you ever see yourself at a bargaining table with president trump or his administration? >> but him together with 4, 5 other leaders. why not. >> california's 2017 wildfire season was the worst on record. some thought 2016 was bad. and that's when we went to california to see what kind of support the state was getting to fight and prevent future wildfires. >> we need congress to act and we need them to act now. >> that was last year. this year more than double the acres burned, and double the dollars spent. you said you've seen bills in motion but has anything changed nc
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♪ sharyl: welcome to "full measure". i'm sharyl attkisson. one of president trump's top priorities for 2018 is pushing to update to america's aging infrastructure. that means our system handling roads, bridges, dams, power and rail. we don't yet know exactly what shape the plan will take but we do know there are trillions upon trillions of dollars in improvements waiting to be made. and ultimately, you'll pick up the tab. so today we examine the costly road to success. there's no better example of america's neglected infrastructure than the old charleroi lock and dam on the monongahela river near pittsburgh. is the concrete falling in? >>
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very poor condition. there's a lot of erosion or scour on the faces from barges rubbing and as a result, concrete is falling into the lock chamber. sharyl: kirk mcwilliams is the resident engineer overseeing the mega-project to modernize the lock. this was built in the 1930s. >> 1930's. so with the condition of the concrete, the foundation that it's founded on, and the size of the chamber require the -- requiring the new construction chamber. sharyl: right now, the lock is too narrow and short for the kind of barges pushed by today's tow boats, like the janet johnson. so it takes longer to line them up and squeeze them through. that extra time is costly. there's a real economic impact, considering how much of the goods we use travel on the waterways. if this river traffic had to be moved onto railroads and highways, would it gra
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impact that part of the infrastructure? >> definitely. sharyl: lenna hawkins oversees projects for the us army corps of engineers in the pittsburgh district. >> there's a kind of a conversion of about 10 million tons of traffic on the river would convert to about almost 400,000 trucks on the roads. sharyl: and many of america's highways are in no better condition. [applause] sharyl: president trump has promised a national upgrade. promised a national upgrade. president trump: countless american industries, businesses, and jobs depend on rivers, runways, roads and rails that are in dire and even desperate condition. and millions of americans rely on their water and pipes and pumps that are on the verge of total failure and collapse. sharyl: sharyl: while cities and states across america struggle with the cost of fixing failing dams, bridges, roads and railroads, the trump administration has a new vision.
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taxpayers kick in for repairs. instead, it relies heavily on partnerships between local governments and private corporations to get the job done in a way that ultimately costs less. >> our job is to manage all the economic decisions made at the white house. sharyl: gary cohn is the president's top economic advisor. >> the cost of our infrastructure, or the lack of our infrastructure, costs american businesses money. it also hurts the quality of life. sharyl: he points to america's flight infrastructure as sorely outdated. which is why he says president trump has asked congress to invite private industry into the federal system that directs planes; air traffic control; converting it into a not for profit. >> why would it be more efficient? because we would actually bring in third party capital, they would get paid from the fees that are already being charged. the fees are there, the money's there, but we could modernize that system. that system is still a land based radar
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the world today is using a gps system, the same system you use to navigate your car from point a to point b, we don't use that in air traffic control. we should use that, but that's a large capital expenditure. sharyl: the special fast lanes around washington dc represent the most common type of those public-private partnerships. private companies build the roadways or bridges and collect the tolls. the largest public-private deal in the us now involves the near total rebuild of laguardia airport in new york city. here in pennsylvania, the state has signed a 25-year deal with a private company to repair and maintain nearly 600 small bridges. it's intended to make repairs faster and cheaper while the company makes a profit. putting public projects in private hands is not without controversy. critics argue companies are more concerned with their own bottom line than taxpayers. in fact, the trump administration recently signaled it's wavering on the heavy push for public private partnerships.
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a spokesman told us "they are certainly not the silver bullet and we will continue to consider all viable options." historically, the highway trust fund was intended to pay for our surface transportation needs. we fund it by paying an 18-and-a-half cent tax on every gallon of gas we buy. but it's not nearly enough. so general tax money has been kicking in and many projects have been put off. mark magalotti of the university of pittsburgh has been studying the dilemma and says ironically, part of the funding shortfall has been caused by efficient vehicles that use less gas so that means less tax money in the trust fund. >> we're trying to encourage people to use public transit, to walk, to bike; all these things are working against the current funding method. sharyl: he favors a tax instead on miles traveled. >> there's been a lot of research and discussion about what's called a vmt tax, vehicle-miles-av
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number of miles you drive your car rather than the gallons of gas you consume. that way, high-performance cars, in terms of fuel efficiency; hybrid cars, electric cars, would all pay a fair share. sharyl: pittsburgh mayor bill peduto says with automated cars and services like uber, it will only be harder to raise money through traditional means like city parking garages. >> my budget, i have $40 million that comes in through a parking tax. when a car can just drive around in circles and never have to go into a garage because it's picking up people all day, how do i find a way to put in that hole of almost 1/10th of my entire budget, because nobody is parking in garages anymore? sharyl: while the sources of funding are debated the clock , continues to tick on america's infrastructure and it's clear that delays cost money. your money. has the result of the delay in this project, or how long it's taken, ultimately probably cost more money to the people paying
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for it and taxpayers? >> definitely yes. it's original estimated cost was about $750 million. and right now we are looking president trump is meeting with the lead republicans in the house and senate to refine the infrastructure pitch before putting it in congress' hands. they're hoping for support from democrats as well. ahead on "full measure," the palestinian problem. president trump threatens to cut off aid if they won't come to the table on peace talks. scott thuman reports, from the
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sharyl: this week president trump threatened to cut us aid for palestinians if they don't come to the peace table with israel. that, weeks after his decision to officially recognize israel's capital of jerusalem and move the us embassy there. we recently reported on the israel perspective. today, scott thuman reports from the tense west bank to ask what palestinians think of trump and prospects for peace. scott: through heavily-guarded checkpoints, and signs warning israelis that entering here, is both illegal and potentially deadly, we cross into the west bank city ramallah, effectively and for now, the palestinian capital. here, president trump's decision to recognize the contested city of jerusalem as the capital of israel has sparked more than just tough talk.
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violence broke out after the president's announcement livid over what they see as the , u.s. siding with israel and seeming to dismiss their claims to jerusalem, palestinian leaders called for "three days of rage." this anger, directed less at israel and more, at the united states for its change of policy. emergency meetings at the u.n. in new york left the u.s. facing condemnation by more than one hundred countries, which left president trump vowing to cut off some of the millions washington contributes to the organization. president trump: let them vote against us, we'll save a lot, we don't care. scott: nabil shaath, former palestinian foreign minister and senior advisor to the current palestinian leader, says he, and all palestinians, were blindsided. nabil shaath: everything on their mind had to with mr. netanyahu. palestinians were not on their mind. i don't think they calculate
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did on the whole the world, actually, not only the palestinians. the thousands of people who took to the streets from jakarta to venezuela. i mean there were so many people who simply found it totally objectionable. scott: and, he says, when it comes to ending the violence in the middle east, this move radically alters the situation. here in the palestinian city of ramallah, many told us they had seen america as an honest broker in the peace process, now, they see betrayal. nabil shaath: you cannot be a broker if you are the enemy of one of the two parties, or if you are only the friend of one the two parties, or if you side with the, with the other party all the time, particularly in important issues, and before you get started. scott: do you ever see yourself at a bargaining table with president trump or his administration? nabil shaath: alone? scott: sure. nabil shaath: no, no i don't think so, but with him together
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why not? why not accept the fact that the world is moving towards this multi-polar world? why doesn't he accept the fact that he is not anymore the owner of the universe? scott: we went to tel aviv to meet another former foreign minister, this time for israel. tzipi livni told us the palestinians and choose to respond with violence or negotiation, it's up the them. tzipi livni: what i said to the palestinians is the following, maybe, or i'm sure you didn't like this declaration, and maybe you have different expectations, but those believing in peace, those who want really to create a palestinian state, it's time to negotiate. scott: but that's what we're hearing from some on the palestinian side. they say in fact, this damages peace negotiations. tzipi livni: it's their decision. the declaration itself shouldn't and doesn't damage peace negotiations.
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instead of focusing on the declaration, would focus on how to re-launch peace negotiations. and there is no excuse for terror, there is no excuse for violence. scott: on the streets of bethlehem, another palestinian run city that's surrounded by israel's security barrier, the sentiment can be even less friendly. this man says, with reason. >> made in the u.s., dangerous, do not shoot directly into person because it's dangerous to shoot directly at the person. and here, jamestown, pennsylvania. scott: when you see those tear gas canisters you just pointed out and it was made in america. how does that make you feel about america? government, bad feeling, but about the people, we have a lot of people, i have thousands and thousands of friends. scott: so you are making the distinction, you like american people, you just don't like the american governm
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the people in america, very many are nice people good people. scott: white house officials who explained the president's decision to move the embassy and declare jerusalem israel's capital, was a way to convince israel it in turn must make concessions in the peace talks. palestinian leaders called those negotiations dead. as a result, president trump, threatened to cut-off some u.s. funding to the palestinian authority. >> we were feeling that it's getting actually close to peace, but unfortunately things are getting worse. they're getting worse. and that's sad. the clashes are getting on. and our life, our lifetsyle, became actually very very hard now. scott: and the peace process? >> what peace are you talking about? scott: no chance now? >> i doubt it. as an american citizen & palestinian, i doubt it. sh
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scott: there's been no official announcement from the white house about pulling funding for the palestinian government. as for the peace process, nabil shaath, the senior foreign policy aide for the palestinian authority president who you saw in our report -- take a look at this video. immediately after we interviewed him, he flew to moscow to meet the russian foreign minister. meanwhile, another palestinian delegation went to china. the purpose of both trips: finding a new intermediary, a new mediator, in the peace process to replace the united states. sharyl: very interesting. thanks very much, scott. coming up on "full measure," this was the worst fire season in california history, following last year's horrific season. we report on a call to action that has g
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sharyl: california's wildfires have set historic records for destruction two years in a row. one of those, the thomas fire, burned into 2018 and even this past week was not fully contained. last january, lisa fletcher
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visited the fire zone and discovered part of the problem is how taxpayer dollars are spent for disasters. there was a push for congress to make changes but so far, it goes unanswered. lisa fletcher: california's 2017 wildfire season was the worst on record. more than 636,000 acres burned, and nearly four and a half billion dollars spent. that's according to congressman jeff denham. rep. jeff denham: this is certainly the biggest fire year in california history. lisa: he is a republican from california, representing part of san joaquin, where residents have not only seen their share of wildfires this year but also the heavy smoke they've caused. denham: i don't think anybody could have predicted this fire year being being as bad as it is but again we can still do a better job of prevention. lisa: for california firefighters it seems the flames they're up against keep getting higher. some thought 2016 was bad. that's when a quarter million acres went up in flames costing
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and that's when we went to california to see what kind of support the state was getting to fight and prevent future wildfires. robert bonnie: we need congress to act and we need them to act now. lisa: we spoke with robert bonnie, who was then head of the us forest service. it's the agency in charge of fighting fires, but also preventing them. he says year after year, wildfires are burning through more budget dollars. bonnie: it's close to 3 billion dollars last year, out of an agency budget that's about 5 billion. lisa: bonnie has spent years urging congress to treat fires like natural disasters. that would shift the cost from the forest service to emergency funds used for hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. irma, harvey, the thomas fire. 2017 may go down in history as the year natural disasters became household names.
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is a vote on the disaster-aid bill which includes spending for wildfires. lawmakers delayed a vote on the $81 billion bill to avoid a government shutdown. we sat down with denham and showed him our story from last year. what were you thinking about as you as watched? rep. denham: there's a lot of concern there. we've got to do a better job. lisa: you said you've seen bills in motion but has anything changed since last year? rep. denham: part of our challenge in california, our fires are always at the end of the year. and so the fema money starts in january and by the end of the year depending on hurricanes or earthquakes or other natural disasters, we end up in november , december having these later emergencies and so fema money we end up doing something supplemental. that's something we've got to fix. lisa: in fact according to fema, every dollar put towards prevention equals four dollars in disaster cost savings for taxpayers.
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forest fire in yosemite or like we saw down in big sur when it's on federal lands that continues to be a big problem and so we want to make sure that some of that fire, natural disaster money comes from fema rather than just taking all the prevention money out of the federal funds and then not being able to manage our forest correctly. lisa: with extreme fires consuming so much of the forest service's budget, programs designed to prevent fires are in jeopardy, as one firefighter told us last year. lisa: is this a disaster? mark gerwe: absolutely it's a disaster and for congress and washington not to recognize that and giving us what we need to do our job. i think they need to take a hard look at that and understand that this is what's going on. lisa: denham is supporting a bill to move more fema dollars towards a new tactical approach. rep. denham: making sure that building structures are up to a standard whether that's for
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areas or for fire damage or earthquakes in california. so there's building standards are a big part of it but we're getting bipartisan support. lisa: i mean it sounds like there's a little movement there's a little headway but it's still a work in progress. rep. denham: congress never moves quick enough. but having our bill in the senate now i think looks very positive. lisa: just this week president trump declared a major disaster in california, opening up federal funding for emergency work, hazard reduction, and fire recovery. that is great in the short term, but does nothing to address consistent, stabilized funding for the forest service to both prevent and protect americans from fire. that change still must come from congress. for "full measure," i'm lisa fletcher. sharyl: next on "full measure," the pentagon has a long history of black budgets and outrageous spending. remember the $640 toilet seat? now, we're about to get a first
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sharyl: last month, president trump signed a $700 billion spending bill for the department of defense for 2018. but who knows how it will be spent? now, maybe we all will. the pentagon is finally launching it's first ever audit. every federal agency has been required to produce statements for audit since 1990. but the pentagon has skated on that requirement for 27 years. in 2016, there were reports of
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found $125 billion of tax dollars wasted on administration costs. recently we reported on ways the department spends beyond its budget, by using a slush fund, the overseas contingency operations account. it's supposed to be used for unplanned military needs. but in 2016, it went to things like a dormitory in turkey, and an operations facility in qatar. this year, 1200 auditors will dig into how the pentagon spends your money, with final reports due this fall. next week on "full measure," we talk with the man who's tracking spending and waste in america's longest war: afghanistan. nearly 17 years in, we're still at war and the waste of your tax dollars continues. where are the failures that lead to so much waste and fraud? john sopko: people came in there for six months or a year spent money like drunken sailors and nobody was ever held accountable. sharyl: original reporting you won't see anywhere else, next week on "full measure."
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new viewers watching on a-z-tv in phoenix, arizona. welcome aboard. we will see you next week.
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around the world, this is "government matters" with francis rose. >> thanks for watching the weekend edition of matters." the only show covering the latest news, trends, and topics that matter to the business of government. i'm your host francis rose. >> the department of defense is the last federal government agency to be financially audited. it started after years of false starts. glen at the department of defense office, his office will oversee the

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